Hill changes course on homeless, Torres-Hill gets funding

July 5, 2016
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Dee Torres and Adam Hill

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill has altered his stance on solving the county’s homeless crisis, shifting from advocating for a new shelter to pushing for permanent housing. Hill’s stance has changed as his wife, Dee Torres-Hill, has transitioned from working for the agency building the shelter to running her own nonprofit that claims to house the homeless.

Torres-Hill’s nonprofit, the SLO Housing Connection, is now receiving local government funding for providing aid to the homeless and poor. SLO Housing Connection recently received $100,000 from the Grover Beach City Council, a body that has maintained close ties to Torres-Hill’s husband.

The Grover Beach council awarded the money, about $20,000 of which is due to go to staffing costs, even though SLO Housing Connection has disclosed no financial records and has failed to file tax exemption returns.

Prior to starting the SLO Housing Connection, Torres-Hill worked as the director of homeless services for the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO). During Torres-Hill’s tenure with CAPSLO, Hill opposed a county plan to house certain homeless individuals and argued for directing more funds toward a shelter project. CAPSLO operates the primary homeless shelter in San Luis Obispo and, for years, has been fundraising for a new, larger shelter.

Currently, Hill touts himself as a big supporter of the county’s homeless housing program, which is known as 50 Now. At a county budget meeting last month, Hill called for crafting plans to acquire even more housing for the homeless. Hill also said the county needs to hold local homeless services agencies accountable to the federal “housing first” standard. If local agencies are not meeting the standard, the county should take away their funding and give it to different organizations, Hill said.

Hill did not mention his wife’s nonprofit, but some say the comments indicate the supervisor has a conflict of interest on the matter. When Torres-Hill worked for CAPSLO, Hill at times recused himself from votes on financial matters pertaining to the nonprofit. When asked if it is a conflict of interest for him to call for more county spending on housing for the homeless while his wife operates an agency that houses the homeless, Hill did not respond.

The supervisor changed his stance on homeless services soon after his wife had a falling out with CAPSLO. In 2012, coworkers accused Torres-Hill of making personal use of gift cards donated to CAPSLO for the needy and homeless. CAPSLO administrators later demoted Torres-Hill and cut her pay. Hill then publicly slammed CAPSLO management and has since shunned the organization.

While in the process of cutting ties with CAPSLO, Torres-Hill started SLO Housing Connection, a competing homeless services nonprofit. By fall 2014, Torres-Hill received a $50,000 donation from developer Gary Grossman. At the time, Hill was lobbying the San Luis Obispo City Council to vote in favor of a land use change that Grossman was seeking.

By May 2015, the entire SLO Housing Connection board of directors quit because Torres-Hill refused to take direction and was not following the nonprofit’s mission statement of housing the homeless, one former board member said. At the time, Torres-Hill had allegedly failed to provide permanent housing for any homeless individuals. Instead, Torres-Hill was spending the money on purchasing hotel rooms, the board member said.

Torres-Hill has refused to disclose who, if anyone, currently sits on SLO Housing Connection’s board. Nonprofits are required by law to have a board of directors.

This April, Torres-Hill received $100,000 in grant funding from the Grover Beach City Council. The council awarded SLO Housing Connection $40,000 for “eviction prevention” services and $60,000 for “rapid re-housing.”

A Grover Beach staff report defines eviction prevention as paying for up to three months the rent or mortgage, as well as utilities, for those at risk of homelessness. Rapid re-housing occurs when an agency pays the security deposit for a potential renter who is able to pay rent but cannot afford the deposit.

Most members of the Grover Beach council are politically allied with Hill. Four of the five council members have endorsed Hill in his current reelection campaign, and the fifth member of the council is a county employee. Hill recently dubbed Grover Beach Councilwoman Karen Bright one his biggest supporters. Also, Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals stood beside Hill when the supervisor announced his reelection campaign.

Grover Beach City Council

Grover Beach City Council

A few years ago, Hill gave Grover Beach Council members gold medallions prior to a vote on ousting then-mayor Debbie Peterson from a county board. During that meeting, Hill instructed council members to call him if they needed financial assistance for Grover Beach events and projects.

The proposal Torres-Hill submitted for the re-housing and eviction prevention funds stated 20 percent of the money would go to personnel costs. The proposal only lists one staff member, who would receive $25 per hour plus benefits. If the personnel costs remain 20 percent and Torres-Hill is the lone staffer, then $20,000 of the $100,000 granted by the Grover Beach council will go to Torres-Hill.

Also, Torres-Hill must spend all $100,000 by Sept. 30 because Grover Beach’s state grant expires the following day. It is unclear what city officials will do to track how the money is spent.

The Grover Beach Council approved the funding for SLO Housing Connection, even though the nonprofit has produced no records of its finances. Torres-Hill has refused to disclose the nonprofit’s tax exemption form, and a California Department of Justice Database says there are no available 990 forms for the nonprofit. Organizations that are exempt from paying taxes are required by the Internal Revenue Code to file yearly 990 forms, which disclose the agencies’ financial positions.

Even though Torres-Hill acknowledges having raised money, the state DOJ database lists SLO Housing Connection as having no revenue, no assets and no contributions.

Torres-Hill did not respond to recent requests for SLO Housing Connection’s 990 forms.

In addition to overlooking SLO Housing Connection’s financial irregularities, the Grover Beach Council approved a duplication of services. Both SLO Housing Connection and the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition received funding from the council for eviction prevention. The 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, which received two thirds of the funds, is an established organization in South County with a full staff.

In recent years, SLO County has ranked as one of the worst counties in the country in its handling of the homeless population. A 2013 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report stated SLO County ranks third in the nation for the highest percent of homeless people who sleep unsheltered.

Until recently, SLO County’ efforts to help the homeless had centered around the construction of a new shelter and the expansion of a case management program, which required individuals to relinquish control of their income to nonprofit workers.

Torres-Hill claimed in the proposal she submitted to Grover Beach that SLO Housing Connection has housed 55 chronically homeless or underserved individuals. When asked for a list of the people her nonprofit has housed, Torres-Hill did not respond.


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32 Comments

  1. DennySLO says:

    Two minutes of seaching and I discovered this! Time for Adam Hill to go away

    https://www.corporationwiki.com/p/2l7ot7/san-luis-consulting-llc

    (32) 36 Total Votes - 34 up - 2 down
  2. SLOBodan says:

    If I lived in Grover Beach, I would be livid with the council’s decision to hand over such a large sum of money to an “agency” wirh no credentials. Karen Velie brought up a great concept on the Dave Congalton show this evening…why not give that money to the Homeless Coalition or another program that has already proven their work with the homeless problem.

    This appears shady to me. Who on that council is being “bought off?”

    (37) 45 Total Votes - 41 up - 4 down
    • kayaknut says:

      The shorter list would be who on the council “isn’t” being bought off.

      (28) 34 Total Votes - 31 up - 3 down
      • givemeabreak says:

        I dont mean to sound ignorant but can someone PLEASE tell me how in the hell Adam Hill and his bride CONTINUALLY get away with so much?

        (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
  3. Rich in MB says:

    How much corruption will the voters of SLO take before they vote Hill out of office?
    Well…we will soon see…

    (32) 40 Total Votes - 36 up - 4 down
  4. CentralcoastRN says:

    Permanent housing?!?!?

    I don’t even know where to begin.

    The apartments on Courtland street are low income. $700 ish a month. There are about 36 units in that complex built about 2 years ago, and HUNDREDS of people in need applied. We have several thousand SLO residents waiting on housing lists NOW waiting for affordable housing. There just ISN’T any and Dee knows it. 100k isn’t going to buy anything but a few days of hotel rooms for homeless people. Honestly, how does that help?

    If anything is going to be done, it needs to be a shelter Grover can use the marijuana tax or something to help keep it going. Shelters provide laundry, sanitation, case management, meals, budgeting, etc of run properly.

    Homeless people need to rebuild their lives more often than not. That takes time. Getting sober, getting medical and mental health care, getting a job or social security benefits set up. That is why the shelter is just better. It would keep more homeless from just loitering around or getting in trouble.

    But hey, good luck trying.

    (38) 48 Total Votes - 43 up - 5 down
    • kayaknut says:

      “HUNDREDS of people in need applied” did you ask yourself why, could it be because if a person stays on assistance for their entire life, and the next generation and the next, they can only afford $700 month, but if they work to better themselves, maybe because their assistance is decreased over time and they must get a job, any job, they would be able to move into a better place?

      (9) 31 Total Votes - 20 up - 11 down
      • CentralcoastRN says:

        Ok. Let’s actually talk numbers. They do not lie. Here is a decent city worker job:

        City of SLO Heavy Duty Mechanic

        4 years education and/or experience
        Class B license with air brake and tanker endorsement, but class A license preferred
        CA Fire Marshall Certified Fire Mechanic level I and/or 2 is desirable

        Pay: $24-29 hourly
        Monthly: 4200-5100 monthly (steps 1-5) Probably takes 4 years to reach step 5
        Health insurance: $1300/month for worker +2 or more
        Mandatory pension contribution: 6.25% of pretax income

        Let’s “assume” step 3: 2160 biweekly
        $4,320
        -1300 insurance
        ______________
        3020
        -189 pension contribution
        ______________
        $2831
        -22% for “all gov’ment taxes”
        =$623
        ___________
        2,208/month approximate net income after all the mandatory stuff.

        Now, all the “experts” say that you should spend no more than 30% of your TAKE HOME pay on housing.

        $2,208 X 30% $662

        Now, this example is for a “good” job as a City of San Luis Obispo Heavy Duty Mechanic. To get this job, one must have mechanic training AND also have a class A or B license, which also requires schooling. Even with this “GOOD” job, this worker and family man/woman should only be paying $662 a month in rent. So, tell me where do we find this? Shandon? San Miguel? Can anyone find a place for an employee with maybe a wife and kid(s)?

        Source:
        http://www.slocity.org/government/department-directory/human-resources/job-descriptions-salaries

        (10) 18 Total Votes - 14 up - 4 down
        • kayaknut says:

          Try it again with a management position salary, bet the numbers would be much different, and don’t forgot 100% pension salary for life plus the ability to double dip and pension spike.

          (12) 18 Total Votes - 15 up - 3 down
          • CentralcoastRN says:

            City managers and management won’t need low cost housing. They want wine cellars and sports cars.

            I’m making the point that it isn’t really “welfare losers” that are applying for housing assistance. I just randomly picked a job that requires some level of education to perform. Even then the worker is STILL struggling.

            (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
            • kayaknut says:

              “City managers and management won’t need low cost housing”, Gee at $200,000+ salaries plus benefits plus lifetime pensions lets hope not. What would happen if you paid all managers and administration types a reasonable salary, no more than $100,000 counting benefits then took that excess and filtered it to, as you put it, “a decent city worker job”??

              (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down
  5. BlueBerry says:

    The mask is off of our leaders in Washington. They have just proven that you can lie to us all and get away with it. Hillary just proved it.

    Well we have our own Hillary in Adam Hill and his partner Dee.

    They lie and take money and do their business against us.

    Wake up and for today seeeeee with your eyes, feeeeeeel it in your heart and knoooooooow the truth vote Adam Hill out and

    DAN CARPENTER in!

    It is time to see the truth unveiled at the BoS chambers with 4 good people on the dias in January 2017.

    Know that corruption only can be halted by US voting the Bully out.

    How many more stories do we have to read about Adam Hill and why he is not good for us?

    (51) 77 Total Votes - 64 up - 13 down
    • curiouser and curiouser says:

      Agree Blueberry! The voters of the 3rd district have the opportunity to get rid of the corrupt
      Adam Hill, however, the vast majority are ill-informed, and believe the propaganda of the Tribune and the Hill ads and mailers!

      I applaud Dan Carpenter for signing on the dotted line to become a candidate for Supervisor and take on the corrupt Adam Hill. That takes courage! It also takes money for Carpenter to reach those ill-informed voters with his message.

      I just sent a check to Dan Carpenter for Supervisor for the general election, and ask all to do the same. Remember it doesn’t matter where you reside in SLO County in order to support Dan Carpenter.

      Eight years are enough for the corrupt Adam Hill. Retire him in 2016!

      (41) 51 Total Votes - 46 up - 5 down
  6. Pelican1 says:

    What a pair to draw to…a losing hand!

    (45) 57 Total Votes - 51 up - 6 down
    • ThomasAquinas says:

      The big issue here is, how? In the words of Pogo, ” we have found the enemy, and he is us”.
      Chris, until we as a community have tired of the corruption, it will continue. From the failure today of the FBI, to allowing the lawlessness of HIll and Gibson, nothing can change until we force a different outcome. Elections have consequences….

      (43) 55 Total Votes - 49 up - 6 down
  7. Josey Wales says:

    Folks,

    This corruption makes me sick.

    Fire Adam Hill.

    Do NOT support Caren Ray.

    Reject the Grover Beach City Council.

    End Sanctuary City/Corruption in Public Policy.

    Just saying,

    JQP

    (108) 130 Total Votes - 119 up - 11 down
  8. Thomas A says:

    The ongoing corruption, in front of everyone, is way beyond the ‘norm.’ What in the hell is going on here?

    Fire Adam Hill.

    (113) 133 Total Votes - 123 up - 10 down
    • diana68 says:

      I agree. I don’t get it at all. How does the constituency not see this? I was shocked that the Tribune backed Adam Hill. Him and his wife are so clearly corrupt.
      The fact that she has not produced a Board of Directors, serious financial irregularities, and no plan to show how the funding will be spent? Wake up Five Cities!

      (87) 105 Total Votes - 96 up - 9 down
      • givemeabreak says:

        Why is everyone so shocked at the constant corruption in this county? No different then the elected officials in DC right up to the president. All a bunch of corrupt hacks. Now what would be shocking is if someone actually did something about it. Starting with the voters who put corrupt imbeciles like Hill in office.

        (45) 55 Total Votes - 50 up - 5 down
  9. just the facts says:

    Hey…let’s get rid of Adam Hill from his positon on the Board of Supervisors. Remember that over 58% of the voters of the Third District in the June election rejected Hill!

    According to the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), only 14 incumbent supervisors in counties across the State of California will be in runoffs this November, and
    Hill is one of those incumbents. Eight years are enough! Time to retire the bully!

    Send a campaign contribution to Dan Carpenter Supervisor 2016!

    (96) 110 Total Votes - 103 up - 7 down

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